Well although we’ve been quiet on the Blog site we have managed to get some upgrade work done on Voyager herself.
You may remember we had issues last year with condensation misting the rear view camera while we were in Northumberland. As well as buying a replacement camera I have applied sealant around its joints – hopefully this will avoid a repeat this year. There is also now a Perspex dome around them both which will provide additional protection – and it looks good too.
I’ve been up on the roof again and fitted three 100W solar panels – one rigid one at the back and two flexible ones over the Luton lump at the front.
The wires go through the existing box – so no more roof holes needed drilling which was a relief. They all appear in the ‘Technical Hub’ or wardrobe which now has another fuse box and controller fitted just above the Snipe satellite dish controller. Conveniently Swift have provided a connection for Solar panels on its distribution panel at the bottom of the wardrobe which made that connection easier.
We are hoping that 300W for Voyager will be enough to enable us to be self-sufficient for wilding (abroad) or Camp sites without paying for hook-up in the UK. We can use the existing 200W in Betty to keep the scooters charged. Well that’s the plan – we will see if it works. We have booked a 3 night weekend in June with no electric which will be the first test.
With all this charge power it seemed prudent to fit some extra leisure batteries. Now an extra two 75Ah ones are fitted under the forward dinette seat – this was where Swift originally had a dual seatbelt system. I removed it last year and as we would never use it – in fact I doubt we will ever use the extra two travel belts we still have. There was just room in the freed up space for the batteries as well as the two baskets we use for cloths when we are travelling.
You may remember that last year I replaced all the habitation bulb type lights with LED ones – this did however leave 5 fluorescent tubes which totalled 50W or about 4A when all on. I have replaced them all with LED light strip tape which only uses about 0.5A for the same light level. As it came on a 10m reel I had enough left over to add some fancy up lighting above the high cabinets as well (not really necessary but it has the extra advantage of lighting the insides for when hunting for that little something that you always need in the middle of the night).
We also realised that we would need extra tech charging connections when off grid so I added 4 USB points inside the cabinet above the kitchen worktop (so we can shut the door on them to cut off their rather bright glow when in use).
As mentioned on our last blog entry we will be venturing across the channel soon. I have been researching satellite reception in France and beyond and found that the Astra footprint will degrade the further we get away from the UK. The little Snipe ‘squareial’ is not going to pull in a good enough signal for us to watch so I have invested in a large 1.1m dish and a good LNB which I will erect when on sites abroad. I have made a copper pipe storage arrangement in Betty for transit. We will see how easy it is to set up and how well it performs on our French trip, although I plan to test it out somewhere in Cornwall pretty soon.
Along with that I have fitted our old SKY HD box (left after we upgraded to Sky Q) again in the Technical Hub. It requires mains power so when that’s not available we can use a little invertor – it only needed 45W so I got a small 100W model from Ebay. At the moment it only receives the same channels as the FreeSat TV but we have the option of getting a proper SKY card when we are away for a long trip. Obviously with it being enclosed in the ‘Hub’ I had to fit a remote sensor so we can use the zapper to control it from our comfy seats.
Mary mentioned that I have treated ‘us’ to a drone and upgraded our Blog so we can post video. Well the weather hasn’t been any good for flying lessons yet but I have done a quick time-lapse video of me cleaning Voyagers carpet so I’m using that to see how it looks on here. All I can say really is the next video will be more exciting (probably).